Squircle Cakes This month I have mostly been eating... Ultimate Chocolate Cake The Lowdown: This was my godson’s birthday cake last year. I know it’s wrong to steal from a child but once you’ve tasted this you’ll be in my corner. Sometimes it’s not easy to watch an event and not intervene. In this instance, the cake was sitting on the counter, unattended, lonely, needing warmth… I’m not quite sure how the fork ended up in my hand. It all happened so quickly. His mum, Louise, is my oldest friend and, whist the longevity of our relationship does nothing to aid forgiveness, geography means she must fume from a great distance. Sitting there, it looked so moist, succulent, desirable. It smiled and beckoned me and I knew it needed me as much as I wanted it. Nothing could prevent our tête-à-tête. Destiny decreed it must be so. And then her mum entered the kitchen and we were forced into a ménage à trois. It’s not my fault. Sometimes fine cake needs to be shared. Even with a stranger… The Ingredients: Cake*: 200g excellent quality dark chocolate (not less than 60% cocoa solids) NB: You know I’m going to say it… Green & Blacks! 200g butter (cut into blocks) 85g self-raising flour 85g plain flour ¼ tablespoon bicarbonate of soda 200g light muscovado sugar 200g golden caster sugar 25g cocoa powder 3 medium eggs 75ml buttermilk grated chocolate or curls for decoration Ganache: 200g excellent quality dark chocolate (see above) 284ml carton fresh double cream (pouring) 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar * DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ADD COFFEE GRANULES AS SOME RECIPES SUGGEST. COFFEE CAKE IS AN EVIL. COFFEE IN A CAKE IS JUST EVIL OF DIMINUTIVE STATURE. THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT STATES: THOU SHALT NOT POLLUTE THY CAKE WITH COFFEE! NOW GO AND SIN NO MORE. The Method: Preheat the oven to 140°C (fan oven)/140°C (conventional)/Gas Mark 3. Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Break the chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan and add the butter. Pour in 125ml/4fl oz cold water and gently heat until the chocolate and butter have melted. While the chocolate is melting, place the two flours, bicarbonate of soda, sugars and cocoa in a big bowl and mix with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring carefully until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for about 1 hour & 25 minutes. A skewer pushed in the centre should come out clean and the top should feel firm (don't worry if it cracks a bit). Leave to cool in the tin (don't worry if it dips slightly), then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three even sections. Resist the temptation to pick at it and concentrate on making the ganache. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and tip into a bowl. Pour the cream into a pan, add the sugar and heat until it is about to boil. Take off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Sandwich the layers together with a small amount of the ganache. Pour the remaining ganache over the cake letting it fall down the sides and smooth with a palette knife it so it covers the cake fully. Decorate with grated chocolate or a pile of chocolate curls. You know the drill by now. Lock the door, grab a fork and dive in. If anyone disturbs you, tell them it’ll be Christmas soon and they can have some to the Christmas Cake. Patience is a virtue and the Ultimate Chocolate Cake is yours! NB: Apparently the cake remains moist and gooey for 3-4 days but if it lasts longer than two days you have no business on my website. Do better next time! The Verdict: It’s worth losing a friendship over. Unless Louise is reading this, in which case I’d never let anything get in the way of our friendship. Ha ha ha evil laughter… The Extra Blurb: I’m going to credit this cake to Oliver Grinsted as an apology for all I deprived him of. Rest assured, Oliver, if you have another next year I’ll, well, at least I’ll be consistent. I have a feeling it may have been adapted from one in a BBC magazine so please don’t write angry letters if you have something similar. If you have a cake that is deserving of my attention please feel free to bring it round and I’ll put the kettle on or decant a bottle as we devour it. Please avoid sending recipes; they are so much harder to digest.